On Music, The Gospel, and everything in between…
I have become more intentional about the music I listen to. Now, I tend to look for the message behind the song rather than enjoy just the melody and beats. I have come to accept and understand that music is extremely powerful in all forms, and that may be one of the reasons why the controversial topics associated with it can never be exhausted. Bear with me, I’m still learning how to lay my thoughts out chronologically. :). I’ve listened to and attempted having the controversial conversation about ‘good music’ in a wide variety of genres. Maybe I have become intentional about my playlists for the wrong reasons, but there is something peculiar about music and the Gospel Genre that I think I need to share, and it will be lovely to get other viewpoints.
I’m going to throw a bunch of different artistes around, and ask a couple of questions, hopefully, if you’re able to get to the end of this, you will see my point and help me out with a few answers. Or better yet, help yourself with something to think about.
He communicates that ‘Christianity’ is not a religion to him anymore and it’s a relationship with Jesus that he’s focusing on, forgetting the world. I love it. It’s a strong message, that I hope his fans understood and received. Then there was the controversy with Kirk Franklin’s feature on Kanye West’s Album… Then I realized, they didn’t get it. They must’ve missed it, because Kirk already told you he’s loosing his religion, so why’re the religious people grilling him? Right???
Then there’s our very own Adomaa. (I say ‘Very Own’ because she’s close to home.) Now, she has had her fair share of backlash from doing ‘Afro Pop’ Music instead of the expected ‘Gospel Music’.
She’s a preacher’s kid. So you should see the ‘expected’ point. I admire Adomaa’s courage to explore the Ghanaian music industry with her kind of music. I’ve personally heard others express disbelief with comments like, “This music will really appeal to Americans. Ghanaians dier, I don’t know,”. (LOL!) Adomaa believes The Gospel cannot be reduced to a genre and is more than that. She believes in exploring all that there is to her musical talent, whether or not she sings about Jesus. Rock on, girl! You have a point. Her argument convinced me of one thing: she knows Jesus.
Then there’s an artiste whom I cannot help but Adore. Tori Kelly.
She has a huge and amazing talent. She is like… Wow. You should find her, if you haven’t. Her voice is great, her song list is very interesting and her message… Her message is just out of the ordinary. (If I’m the clueless one here, please share a few artistes like her, ‘cause she’s the first of her kind that I have come across). The Album & Song ‘Unbreakable Smile’ just taught me a lot of lessons, that I will hold dear forever. Her references to ‘Jesus’ many times convinced me: she knows Jesus.
I don’t know what kind of music they used to make 2,000 years ago when Christ walked the earth, but… I’m certain there were real life situations going on at that time too. There must’ve been heartaches and heartbreaks, there must’ve been economic crisis (ha!), emotional trauma, teenage drama, and being overwhelmed with life in general. What did Jesus tell his disciples about these things? How did Jesus handle his mother getting frustrated with all the trouble that his brothers caused at home?
Christians need music to jam to, and worship with… music that will help them connect with the heavens. So, the holy spirit inspires talented musicians to write amazing worship and praise songs. Then there are the non-Christians that are going through only God-knows-what, and they are dealing with them only God-knows-how. What happens to them? What music do they get to soothe their weary hearts? I think people who are music lovers but aren’t “into the church thing” (as a colleague recently put it,) also deserve to taste of the Gospel in SOME way.
Being one to still have remnants of the question ‘what is my purpose’ looming over my head, I find myself wondering the same for a lot of artistes. Whatever your music communicates should be a story, something that resonates with your mind and values. There must be some genuine representation of ‘you’ in your music. So if your music screams: “The Gospel! The Gospel!” but there is no difference between your life and the one who sings seemingly ‘random songs’.
I believe it’s a change that should be welcomed. Close-mindedness when it comes to Gospel music, especially, when we know that Jesus was not rigid when he was on earth. In my opinion, He deliberately crossed paths with ‘underdogs’ so that they will see The Light (in Him). Knowing that He was the living example of who we aspire to be, I think the new trend that I’m seeing should have started a very long time ago.